drunken man with a bottle
Men’s Talks

Before You Take the Next Bottle

I am not interested in the debate about the ethical good of taking alcohol because it is largely inconclusive. I will rather spend my time doing some other better things than engage in such futile, in some cases, infantile arguments. But, wait a minute, do I support drinking?

Some years ago, I saw alcohol consumption as part of growing up, or adulthood. My father was someone you could call a drunkard. He did not just drink, he traded in it. My mother, before she became religious sold the items this was some years before I was born anyway.  Though, I never saw my mother drink, but what is the difference between selling it and drinking it? I still struggle to answer this question today!

If my parents drink, and sell the items, was it wrong for me to start drinking? I recall in our house on a Christmas day, I must have been around eight or nine years of age. There were many visitors in our house with enough to eat and drink. We the children were only permitted to take “soft drinks” while the adults freely took alcohol. I imagined what could have been the basis of such distinction. Stealthily, I approached a Guinness or “small stout” bottle, obviously left by one of our visitors to see if I could taste what the liquid looked like. I sucked the remainder of the contents, and lo! “Very bitter” I said to myself.

But with my lips still stained with the alcohol contents, my mother came in and saw the bottle with me. She spanked me hard in a way I can still feel. She never told me my offence, but I knew what it was!

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Today, I cannot say I don’t drink, but definitely I am not a drunkard. I take wine, but not beer. Some find this strange, but it’s the truth. Whenever I see people take beer or wine to excess, I asked myself, “Why should he take the next bottle?” If you are like me, an occasional or “social” drinker, I don’t know whether to congratulate or pity you. But for those who are reckless drinkers, please listen to this before you take your next bottle.

One of my father’s friends, way older than my dad but doesn’t drink at all, told me something strange about one of my father’s friends which reinforced why I should never partake in alcoholism.

He said that there was a burial ceremony of one of their friends in a village outside Lagos. But because he was not in their age group, he could not attend the burial of someone far younger than him. As usual they went to spend heavily on women and alcoholic beverages.  They drank as the drinks were in excess.

Suddenly, they couldn’t find one of them with whom they left Lagos. Since it was late in the day, around 1 am, they felt he had gone to meet one of their several concubines (they keep concubines in several places to satisfy their sexual urges in different places). In the early morning, they were still searching for this man. Since in the drunkard’s song, “Afowo muti ki ku sode”  that is he who is a drunkard cannot die on the way, they assumed he could not get lost, so the rest left for Lagos, leaving that man to sort out himself.

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News came in three days later that the man had not reached home, and then tension rose. Where could he have gone to? Nobody could provide any reasonable answer. A local hunter had come with the news that a man was found dead in the thick forest. The only thing he was recognised with was the “Aso Ebi” they had all worn to the ceremony. At least that was how the hunter was able to know he was one of those who attended a party in the village some days earlier. Soldier ants had eaten deep his eyes, and brains and the helpless man was too weak to do anything about it. He had fallen down in the middle of the night drunk, and there was no one to help him up. The soldier ants showed no mercy as they enjoyed their feast on him.

The man obviously died a miserable and shameful death, so he had to be burnt, according to the small village’s tradition!

That is why to you my drunkard friend, before you take the next bottle, remember my father’s friend!

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